An automobile, also called a motor car, is a wheeled vehicle used for passenger transportation and often propelled by an internal-combustion engine using a volatile fuel. Most definitions of the term specify that it has seating for one to seven people and is designed primarily to run on roads. The modern automobile (or motorcar) traces its roots back several hundred years, with the first self-propelled vehicles being driven by human or animal power.

The advent of the automobile was a significant change to industry and technology and to everyday life. It allowed people to move more easily between cities and to visit relatives and friends. It gave women more freedom to work outside the home, and it brought about a major push for women’s rights during the 1910s and 1920s. Industries sprang up to manufacture the parts and fuel needed for automobiles, and convenience stores and gas stations were established.

Today, most automobiles are powered by engines that burn petroleum products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel. Despite their popularity, automobiles have many shortcomings, including their vulnerability to accidents resulting from human errors and the tendency of wheels to lose traction under certain conditions. Automobiles are also expensive to maintain and operate, and some of them pollute the environment.

The best cars are powerful, fast and feature advanced safety and infotainment systems. The Toyota Corolla is a dependable compact, and the Honda Civic has excellent fuel economy. If you want a little extra room, the Nissan Versa is a good choice. The Kia Rio is a bargain, but it deserves a better name to distance itself from the penalty-box Rios of yesteryear.

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